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I have a need for a simple SQL server that will both be accessed via Dial-up and Ethernet. The access will only be for basic login, post information, run required calculation, transmit info back to client...most all of the information in the calculation will be done on the client-side, just need to do the following:
1. Connect and verify login information.
2. Post form info
3. Get db info 4. Run calculation on client-side
5. Post result of calculation on db
6. Disconnect.
Can this be done with Apache running on a "server" computer? If not, then how would this be done?

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migrated from Jan 30 '10 at 16:04

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

Apache is just a webserver, alone it can't do anything that you want. You haven't specified what the client is. Is it a program you wrote? Is it a person at a web browser?

Two different ways you can go about this are;

  1. Use a scripting language (ie. php, python, or ruby) to talk to your database server and provide some sort of web service. In this case your webserver (ie. Apache, IIS or Nginx) handles connections to the scripting language, which intern stores submitted data and does the database lookups and provides the data back to the client. You can provide a webpage for access, or use xml or json and provide an api for client software to talk to. (The webpage could use the api as well.) Access control can be done either by the script or the webserver. People could connect to the service via the internet, or via tcp/ip via dial up or vpn.
  2. Provide a database connection directly to the client software, and clients can access it via tcp/ip either via dialup or vpn.

I don't recommend option 2 as you have to trust your clients heavily or partition their data into tables for access control. In general giving outside access directly to a database is a bad idea.

You should probably Google around for examples of what you would like to do. I also recommend taking a look into learning how to program some simple scripts. Both PHP and Python are very easy to get into. Most people seem to go towards php, but if I could go back I would have started with Python. While php can be used well, it has a long history of poor practices that cause trouble down the road and a lot of documentation and howtos still teach them.

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dial-up server, as in modem dial up? yikes! can you even buy dial-up modems anymore?

This all sounds very 1992.

Seeing as your using sql server, then stick with the microsoft technology stack.

Investigate using Routing and Remote Access RRAS on Windows server to configure a dial-up service & handle username/password auth.

You'll want to use IIS instead of apache, although you could use apache if you really want to. Create your forms to post to using ASP.NET or even PHP if your so inclined.

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